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Old 03-07-2009, 02:48 PM   #1
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Thumbs down Chondroitin very risky for prostate cancer

I mentioned that the supplement chondroitin, well known for apparent relief to joints and especially to knees, was known to be risky for prostate cancer patients in the new thread on exercise, and kcon asked about that. Here is an excerpt of his post. I decided there should be a new thread just about chondroitin as I was disturbed by the details I learned. This stuff looks downright dangerous to prostate cancer patients (and to men generally because they might become prostate cancer patients)!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kcon
...
Second, I wanted to inquire about your comment on chondroitin (your next-to-last paragraph). I had knee reconstruction--twice on the same knee over 25 years ago--and am very arthritic there. (I can run forever on an elliptical tranier, but can't run 50 yards on my own without straining my knee/joint.) I've been taking the combination glucosamine chondroitin for nearly 10 years, and it definately has reduced pain. Can you add anything to your comment "I avoid the combo with chondroitin as there is evidence that is not good for prostate cancer patients"?

thanks
kcon


So many of these research findings have to do with odds, and I suspected the one about chondroitin was one of them. As with so many things about prostate cancer where there are benefits on the one hand but risks on the other, taking chondroitin seemed like one of those judgement calls we all have to make individually, and it's more complicated when we personally are getting benefit from a supplement that has some risk: here, I was supposing, we probably have to decide whether the benefit to our knees is worth whatever risk there is.

I had not looked into the research basis for avoiding chondroitin before today, but after a small amount of time spent checking, my personal conclusion is that chondroitin is too risky for prostate cancer to justify any benefit! I was really taken aback by the strength of the evidence!

The evidence has cleared glucosamine, so possibly switching to just that supplement would give enough relief.

As with so many of these kinds of questions, it helps to go to [url]www.pubmed.gov[/url], a site we can use here because it is Government sponsored. I did a search for " prostate cancer AND chondroitin " and got 21 hits; after seeing some rat studies, I put on limits for only studies done in humans that had abstracts, getting 16 hits. I took a look at a few of the abstracts by clicking on the blue hypertext. I'm fairly used to reading this stuff, but this group of hits looked extra technical. Try PubMed yourself and just ignore the highly technical stuff. Anyway, here are my excerpts and bracketed comments for a few of the clearer comments:

From the first hit of the 16, first author Sakko, 2008: "... The glycosaminoglycan chondroitin sulfate is significantly increased in the peritumoral stroma of prostate tumors compared with normal stroma and is an independent predictor of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) relapse following radical prostatectomy. ..."

Hit 2, from first author Teng, 2008: "... Non-sulfated chondroitin expression ... in adenocarcinoma ...correlated significantly with ...unfavorable outcome, including higher pathological T stage and Gleason score, presence of tumor in both prostatic lobes, extraprostatic extension, seminal vesicle involvement and preoperative prostate-specific antigen levels. These data suggest that non-sulfated chondroitin is a potentially useful biomarker for prostate cancer, and may be involved in regulating prostate cancer behavior."

Hit 8, first author Glynne-Jones, 2001: "... Studies ... demonstrate that TENB2 is a chondroitin sulphate proteoglycan. ... These data are indicative of a significant role for TENB2 in the progression of poorly differentiated tumour types, with implications for prostate cancer detection, prognosis and therapy."

Hit 9, first author Ricciardelli, 1999 (and full paper available free via [url]www.pubmed.gov:[/url] "... Chondroitin sulfate (CS) ... is a candidate biomarker as elevated levels of CS in peritumoral stroma of prostate cancer have been associated with prostate-specific antigen (PSA) failure. ... CS level, Gleason score, and preoperative serum PSA levels were independent predictors of PSA failure.... Patients with low CS levels had significantly fewer PSA failures after radical prostatectomy than patients with high levels of CS [basically 32% failures if CS level was less than 7 versus 50% failure if greater than 7].... In the subgroup of patients with preoperative serum PSA levels < 10 ng/ml, CS was particularly useful in discriminating retrospectively those patients most suited for surgery [basically, 14% failure if CS less than 7 versus 47% failure if CS equal to or greater than 7, with an extremely high degree of statistical confidence; WOW! - did not know that! ] ... We conclude that measurements of CS level can assist in predicting patient outcome after surgery. Additionally, our data suggest that the combination of CS and PSA measurements may improve outcome prediction for patients with intermediate Gleason scores."

I'm really impressed with that last study and a little surprised that testing for chondroitin sulfate has not caught on. There is probably a reason, but I would like to know what it is.

Some of the other hits looked interesting too, but this sure reinforces my decision to stay away from chondroitin! Of course I'm not an MD and have had no enrolled medical education, but if I had a stock of chondroitin or chondroitin mixed with glucosamine, I would go straight to the cabinet and chuck it in the trash! (Or my wife could use it; I don't recall hearing that it is a problem for women.)

It is disturbing that supplement sellers do not highlight a warning about the chondroitin-prostate cancer connection, especially considering that prostate cancer is so common. In my opinion, there should be a prominent caution. I just checked the brand my wife uses. It's from CVS, and there is a fine black print caution to consult a doctor before using the supplement if you are taking any medication, which would apply to many of us. Well, that's pretty broad and bland; it reads like the typical stuff that consumers don't pay attention to. I would like to see a warning in large red letters!

Jim

Last edited by IADT3since2000; 03-07-2009 at 02:55 PM. Reason: Added exclamation point at end.

 
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Old 03-07-2009, 08:40 PM   #2
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Re: Chondroitin very risky for prostate cancer

Wow...I'm a bit stunned.

 
Old 03-07-2009, 08:54 PM   #3
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Re: Chondroitin very risky for prostate cancer

Well, I forgot to say "thank you" for the leg work in digging this up, Jim, but I truly am stunned. I think we will be reading more on this topic later as more is researched & published. The significance appears significant, and leads one to wonder what more extensive conclusions will be drawn from further studies yet to come.

Of course, dietary supplements have low barriers to market entry; they aren't FDA reviewed or approved. They simply have independent testing to confirm that the ingredients are indeed what the manufacturer has published. About 10 years about, I heard about Gluchosamine Chondroitin (GC) by word of mouth. As I mentioned in my earlier posting, I had two knee reconstructions in my RIGHT knee about 25 years ago. About 10 years ago I had my LEFT knee reconstructed after tearing that ACL. After surgery, I asked the doc (a leading Chicago ortho, and a former athlete himself) about GC, and he said "Well, I take it." That was good enough for me; I bought some on the way home that day and have taken it ever since.

I am just stunned at this information and the possible ramifications...

Thanks again.

 
Old 03-08-2009, 09:33 AM   #4
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Re: Chondroitin very risky for prostate cancer

Hi Jim,

Thanks for all that info on the stuff that I've been taking for years because of my arthritis. Apparently I'm not doing my prostate cancer situation any good by taking this stuff. Makes me wonder what else I'm taking for arthritis that isn't doing me any good! Maybe I should just lay off this stuff for awhile and see what happens ( whether or not the arthritis gets any worse or not ).

I have only three more days or radiation therapy and then I'll have to wait a couple of months for a PSA test to see if it did any good or not. In the meantime, I'll just take glucosamine and forget the chondroitin and see what happens. I see my radiation oncologist next Tuesday and I'm going to ask him if knows anything about this.

Thanks for the very enlightening info. Have a great day...Lionel

 
Old 03-08-2009, 03:12 PM   #5
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Re: Chondroitin very risky for prostate cancer

Quote:
Originally Posted by flyfisher37 View Post
Hi Jim,

Thanks for all that info on the stuff that I've been taking for years because of my arthritis. Apparently I'm not doing my prostate cancer situation any good by taking this stuff. Makes me wonder what else I'm taking for arthritis that isn't doing me any good! Maybe I should just lay off this stuff for awhile and see what happens ( whether or not the arthritis gets any worse or not ).

I have only three more days or radiation therapy and then I'll have to wait a couple of months for a PSA test to see if it did any good or not. In the meantime, I'll just take glucosamine and forget the chondroitin and see what happens. I see my radiation oncologist next Tuesday and I'm going to ask him if knows anything about this.

Thanks for the very enlightening info. Have a great day...Lionel
Hi, Lionel and Jim,
Thanks, Jim, for the information. I had not read material with as much details about the apparent risk of Chondroitin. I had dropped Chrondroitin a few years before seeing any reference to the connection to prostate health. I had started taking Glucosamine with MSM instead of Chondroitin (for no good reason...even though I had one and did not know it). I, also, take fish oil. It has been years since I have needed to take Feldene. Remembering the pain in the shoulder, wrist, fingers, I would hate to see research that any of those I would give up without shedding a couple tears. Maybe I could give up the fish oil. I had good results from Glucosamine and MSM before adding fish oil. I did not miss the Chondroitin.
My wife takes a homeopathic medicine that might not work the miracle for me (or you) that it does for her joints (she doesn't take Chondroitin even though she obviously does not need to worry about prostate health). This medication claims to have no side effects or drug interactions. The only contraindications: it costs more than Glucosamine, MSM and fish oil and, of course, is not covered by insurance. I have found DJD pain so disabling and unpleasant, I am happy it is on the shelf at my supermarket (I buy it for my wife on the Internet for about $7 for 60 tablets) in case that my medication is either 1) no longer effective or 2) found to be counerindicated for my other problems. If you want to research my wife's magic pill, I have her permission to pass the name on to you: Arnicare Arthritis by Boiron (there are other Arnicare products; this is one specifically for "Arthritis.") She (and my sister-in-law concurs) says she knew right away she would get relief. The medication that I took (maybe for you, too) took a few weeks to build up and gradually help the aching joints. The two-for-two testimonials I have are unanimous: it WORKS...and right away. Neither one could answer me when I asked if it is THAt good--why don't I hear anything about it??? My wife has no medical training. My sister-in-law is a RN, but she is not handing out recommendations to anyone (she is just grateful that her knees don't hurt).
Good luck with the prostate. I hope you find what you are taking (minus the Chondroitin) does not add to that problem. We have enough problems...right? ...without medications adding to them.
Dale

 
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